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Psalms 7:1 « Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite. » O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:
Shiggaion of David ] i.e. David’s delight or solace, say some; his mixed song, or synodee, say others.
Which he sang unto the Lord ] He could sing away care, and punish his reproachers with a merry contempt, as knowing his own innocence; the property whereof is to throw off slanders, as Paul did the viper; yea, in a holy scorning, it laughs at them, as the wild ass doth at the horse and his rider.
Concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite ] Which some take to be some cousin and courtier of Saul’s, who had falsely accused good David (far from any such thought, Psa 131:1 ) of affecting the kingdom, and seeking Saul’s life. See 1 Samuel 24:10 . But I rather understand, with the Chaldee paraphrast, Saul’s self, who was of Kish, and of Jemini, 1 Samuel 9:1 , and that, by a disguise of name, he is called Cush the Benjamite, that is, an Ethiopian, because of his obstinate impenitence, according to Jeremiah 13:23 . So Amos 9:7 , rebellious Israel is to God as Ethiopia. Professors shall be as deep in hell, and deeper than Turks and infidels, because of their dissembled sanctity, which is double iniquity. Wrath shall be upon the Jew first, Romans 2:9 ; and when the foul sinner goes to hell what shall become of the fair professor? may such be asked, as are both in one. In the Ethiopian is nothing white but his teeth; so in a hypocrite, &c.
Ver. 1. O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust ] Or, I betake me to thee for safety. David found it always best to run to the old rock, Isaiah 26:4 , and to cry, "O Lord my God," pleading the covenant. This no wicked man can do; but, being beaten out of earthly comforts, he is as a naked man in a storm, and an unarmed man in the field, or as a ship tossed in the sea without an anchor, which presently dasheth on the rocks, or falleth upon the quicksands. Saul, for instance, who, being in distress, and forsaken by God, ran first to the witch, and then to the sword’s point.
Save me from all them that persecute me ] Where the prince is a persecutor (as in the primitive times, and here in the Marian days) many will be very active against God’s people. O sancta simplicitas, said John Huss, martyr, when at the stake he observed a plain country fellow busier than the rest in fetching faggots.
Psa 7:2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending [it] in pieces, while [there is] none to deliver.
Ver. 2. Lest he tear my soul like a lion ] i.e. Put me to a cruel and tormenting death; exercising against me both cruelty and also craft, by taking me at such a time as there is none to deliver me.
Psa 7:3 O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;
Ver. 3. O Lord my God ] See Trapp on " Psa 7:1 "
If I have done this ] i.e. This treachery and treason, whereof Saul doth causelessly suspect me, and wherewith his pick thank partisans unjustly charge me. As for sedition, saith Latimer, for aught that I know, methinks I should not need Christ, if I might so say. But where malice beareth mastery the doing of anything or of nothing is alike dangerous (Serm. 3, before K. Ed. VI).
If there be iniquity in my hands ] Heb. in the palms of my hands, where it may be concealed. If I have secretly acted against my sovereign.
Psa 7:4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:)
Ver. 4. If I have rewarded evil, &c. ] If I have broke the conditions of our reconciliation, or betrayed my trust.
Yea, I have delivered him that, &c. ] This was true Christianity, to overcome evil with good, Matthew 5:44 , &c.; Romans 12:17 , &c. O quam hoc non est omnium! O how few can skill of this! Elisha made the Syrians a feast who came to make him a grave. David spared Saul, and delivered him, not without the hazard of his own life. Bradford conducted Bourn from the pulpit at Paul’s Cross (where he had cried up Popery at the coming in of Queen Mary) safe to his lodging. A certain gentleman said unto him, Ah, Bradford, Bradford, thou savest him that will help to burn thee. I give thee his life; if it were not for thee I would run him through with my sword. And it proved as the gentleman had prophesied. There he sits, I mean my lord of Bath, Mr Bourn (said Bradford in his third examination before Stephen Gardiner), which desired me himself for the passion of Christ, I would speak to the people. Upon whose words I, coming into the pulpit, I had like to have been slain with a dagger which was hurled at him, I think, for it touched my sleeve, he then prayed me I would not leave him, and I promised that as long as I lived I would take hurt before him that day. And so went I out of the pulpit, and entreated with the people, and at length brought him myself into a house. Besides this, in the afternoon I preached in Bow Church, and there, going up into the pulpit, one willed me not to reprove the people; for, quoth he, you shall never come down alive if you do it. And yet in that sermon I did reprove their fact, and called it sedition at least twenty times. For all which my doing I have received this recompense, prison for a year and half and more, and death now, which you (my lord of Bath among the rest) go about. Let all men be judge where conscience is. Thus Master Bradford, like another David, in his own defence.
Psa 7:5 Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take [it]; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.
Ver. 5. Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it ] Thus he cleareth himself by a holy imprecation (the Spanish Bible hath the Shiggaion Davidis, in the title, Purgatio Davidis, as the same Hebrew word חשׁא signifieth both sin and purification from sin, Psa 51:1-19 ), taking God to witness his innocence and good conscience, and wishing evil to himself if it were otherwise. This he did from a good cause, in a good manner, and for a good end. And not as many profane ones do today, who, taxed, though never so truly, with some evil they have done, seek to justify themselves by appealing to God, and calling for his curse upon them if guilty; who, therefore, striketh such impudent imprecators immediately, as Anne Averies and others. See Mr Clark’s Mirror.
And tread down my life ] Heb. my lives; so usually called, saith an interpreter, for the many faculties and operations that are in life, the many years, degrees, estates thereof.
And lay mine honour in the dust. Selah ] Let him brand me for a most treacherous, ignominious wretch, and let me lie buried in a bog of indelible infamy.
Psa 7:6 Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me [to] the judgment [that] thou hast commanded.
Ver. 6. Arise, O Lord, in thine anger ] Here David repeateth and reinforceth his suit, filling his mouth with arguments for that purpose, such as he well knew would be of avail.
Lift up thyself &c. ] Wherein they deal proudly be thou above them, to control and topple them over.
And awake for me ] Sometimes God seemeth to be asleep, we must awake him; to forget, we must remind him; to have lost his mercy, we must find it for him. "Where is thy zeal and thy strength?" &c., Isaiah 63:15
To the judyment that thou hast commanded ] That is, promised, viz. that thou wilt command deliverances out of Zion. Or, which thou hast commanded to men in case of wrong done, to relieve the oppressed: and wilt not thou for me, great Judge, much more do it?
Psa 7:7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high.
Ver. 7. So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about ] As people love to flock to assizes, or such places of judicature, where sentence is passed upon great ones that have offended. Or thus, then shall the public sincere service of God be set up, and people shall fly to it, as the doves do to their windows.
For their sakes therefore return thou on high ] Seat thyself upon thy tribunal, and do justice. Thou hast seemed to come down from the bench, as it were, and to have no care of judgment; but go up once again, and declare thy power. Reverte, id est, ostende manure tuam esse altam, Return, that is, show that thou hast a high hand, saith R. Solomon.
Psa 7:8 The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity [that is] in me.
Ver. 8. The Lord shall judge the people ] The Ethiopian judges leave the chief seat ever empty, thereby acknowledging that God is the chief judge.
Accordiny to my righteousness ] viz. In this particular crime, whereof I am accused. Great is the confidence of a good conscience toward God. Such only can abide by the everlasting burnings.
Psa 7:9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
Ver. 9. Oh let the wickedness, &c. ] Put a stop to their rage and rancour.
But establish the just ] The overthrow of the one will be a strengthening to the other; as it was between the house of Saul and David, 2 Samuel 3:1 . But who are just?
The righteous God trieth the hearts and reins ] i.e. The thoughts and affections or lusts of people, and accordingly esteemeth of them; for Mens cuiusque is est quisque; and God judgeth a man according to the hidden man of his heart, Cogitationum et cupiditatum (Junius).
Psa 7:10 My defence [is] of God, which saveth the upright in heart.
Ver. 10. My defence is of God ] Heb. My buckler is upon God. See Trapp on " Psa 3:3 "
Which saveth the upright in heart ] Of which number I know myself to he one; and do, therefore, look for his salvation.
Psa 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry [with the wicked] every day.
Ver. 11. God is angry with the wicked every day ] Or, all day long; they are under the arrest of his wrath, and liable to the wrath to come. Children they are of wrath, because of disobedience. One rendereth it, God troubled them, sc. by laying continually some judgment or other upon them; and yet there is no cause to fear (as the heathen did of his Jupiter) that he should be exhausted, Si quoties peccent homines, &c.
Psa 7:12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
Ver. 12. If he turn not ] sc. Impius ab impietate sua, saith R. Solomon, If the wicked turn not from his wickedness, by true and timely repentance.
He will whet his sword, he hath bent his bow ] i.e. God will, God hath; and mark that he whets before he strikes, and is bending his bow, setting his arrows, preparing his instruments of death; all which must needs take up some time, and so give fair warning to these foul sinners if they have grace to make use of it. See the like Deuteronomy 32:41-42 . God first whets his sword before he devours flesh, and first takes hold on judgment before his judgment take hold of men. But if this be not observed and improved, Patientia Dei quo diuturnior, eo est minacior; and what shall wicked men plead for themselves when God shall say to them, as Reuben once did to his brethren, Genesis 42:22 , Did not I warn you, saying, Sin not?
Psa 7:13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.
Ver. 13. He hath also prepared, &c. ] The punishment of ungodly persons is here elegantly set forth by three similitudes. 1. From warfare. 2. From child birth, Psalms 7:14 Psalms 7:3 . From hunting, Psalms 7:15-16 . Well might the Lord say, "I have used similitudes by the ministry of the prophets," Hosea 12:10 . See Trapp on " Hos 12:10 "
He ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors ] Heb. the hot burning persecutors, that are set on work by the great red dragon (Ardentes, importing their haste to perpetrate mischief). Such were Felix of Wurtemburg, who swore that ere he died he would ride up to the spurs, and Fornesius, who vowed that he would ride up to the saddle skirts, in the blood of the Lutherans. The archbishop of Tours made suit for the erection of a court called Chambre Ardent, wherein to condemn the French Protestants to the fire. But ere he died he had fire enough, for he was stricken with a disease called The Fire of God; which began at his feet, and so ascended upward, that he caused one member after another to be cut off, and so he died miserably. This was God’s burning arrow against a hot burning persecutor. The like may be said of Dioclesian, that bloody tyrant, who had his house burnt over his head with fire from heaven; wherewith he was so frightened that he died soon after (Euseb. l. 5). The previously mentioned Count Felix of Wurtemburg was, the same night that he had so vowed and vaunted, choked in his own blood. So he rode not, but bathed himself, not up to the spurs, but throat, not in the Lutherans’ blood, but in his own, before he died. And the like we read of Charles IX of France.
Psa 7:14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
Ver. 14. Behold, he travaileth with iniquity ] Heb. he shall travail, or he continually travaileth; he taketh as great pains to go to hell as a travailing woman doth to be delivered.
And hath conceived mischief ] See Job 15:35 , See Trapp on " Job 15:35 "
And brought forth falsehood ] Or, a lie, that is, a disappointment. See Isaiah 26:18 . The Jews have a proverb, Quicquid genuit mendacium, dispellit maledictio (R. Solomon).
Psa 7:15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch [which] he made.
Ver. 15. He made a pit, and digged it, &c. ] This simile shows, that the wicked shall not only be frustrated, but undone by their own doing; as was Absalom, Haman, our gunpowder Papists, Pope Alexander VI, and his son Caesar Borgia (Bucholcer); who, by a mistake of the attendants at table, drank up the poisoned wine which they had prepared and set ready for some princes of Italy whom they had invited, and for whose dominions they thirsted. Hic aut Caesar ut nullus, saith Pontanus, who relateth the history.
Psa 7:16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
Ver. 16. His mischief shall return upon his own head ] As the Thracians’ arrows did, which they in a rage (because it rained upon them unseasonably) shot up against heaven (Herodot.).
And his violent dealing upon his own pate ] i.e. Abundantly, and apparently. Various instances might be given hereof. Henry III of France was stabbed in the same chamber where he had helped to contrive the French massacre. His brother, Charles IX, had blood given him to drink, for he was worthy:
Quem sitiit vivens seelerata mente cruorem,
Perfidus hunc moriens Carolus ore vomit.
John Martin of Briqueras, in France, vaunted everywhere, that he would slit the minister’s nose of Angrogne. But he was shortly after assaulted by a wolf, which bit off his nose, so that he died thereof mad. Dispatch the knave, have done, said Sir Ralph Ellerken, governor of Calais, to the executioner of Adam Davilip, martyr, for I will not away till I see the traitor’s heart out (Acts and Mon.). But shortly after, the said Sir Ralph in a skirmish between the French and us at Bulloin, was among others slain, and had his heart ripped out by the enemy. That was a very remarkable one of Dr. Story, who escaping out of prison in Queen Elizabeth’s days, got to Antwerp, and there thinking himself out of the reach of God’s rod, he got commission under Duke D’Alva, to search all ships coming there for English books. But one Parker, an English merchant, trading to Antwerp, laid his snare fair, saith our chronicler (Speed. 1174), to catch this foul bird, causing secret notice to be given to Story, that in his ship were store of heretical books, with other intelligences that might stand him in stead. The canonist, conceiving that all was cock sure, hasted to the ship, where with looks very big upon the poor mariners, each cabin, chest, and corner above board were searched, and some things found to draw him further on; so that the hatches must be opened, which seemed to be unwillingly done, and great signs of fear were showed by their faces. This drew on the doctor to descend into the hold, where now in the trap the mouse might well gnaw, but could not get out; for the hatches were down, and the sails hoisted up, which with a merry gale were blown into England, where ere long he was arraigned, and condemned of high treason, and accordingly executed at Tyburn, as he had well deserved.
Psa 7:17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
Ver. 17. I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness ] i.e. His faithfulness in keeping promise with his people, and with myself in particular. I will say to his honour, as Deuteronomy 32:4 , "A God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he."
And will sing praise to the name, &c. ] Where the psalmist mentioneth the overthrow of the wicked. Laus praecedit et sequitur, saith R. Joshua Ben Levi here, as in this place, and Psa 9:2
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25